January 17, 2011
By Lyle Estill
This year’s Sustainable Biodiesel Summit (SBS) will be held in Pittsboro, North Carolina on March 5th, 2011. Every year since 2002 sustainable biodiesel enthusiasts have gathered in different cities to listen to top industry experts, compare notes, and learn about one another’s projects.
The 2011 SBS is a collaboration between Piedmont Biofuels, Central Carolina Community College, and The Abundance Foundation. This year’s speakers include Dr. Jon Van Gerpen from the University of Idaho, considered by some to be one of America’s foremost biodiesel educators. Also confirmed are Frankie Abralind, a publisher and activist from Washington D.C., and Matt Rudolf from the Roundtable for Sustainable Biofuels which is headquartered in Switzerland.
Biodiesel enthusiasts from across America, Canada, and Carribean countries will be in attendance.
Piedmont Biofuels is a leader in the grassroots sustainable biodiesel movement, and as the conference sponsor Piedmont will be staging a three day “Biodiesel Intensive” workshop in advance of the Summit. The workshop will be held on March 2, 3, and 4th. Piedmont’s own Rachel Burton, a globally recognized expert in fuel quality, and Chris Jude, will both be contributing instructors at the workshop. This year’s Biodiesel Intensive will introduce enzymatic biodiesel production, which Piedmont has pioneered.
Rachel Burton, Piedmont’s Research Director states, “The promise of enzymatic production is that it will allow biodiesel producers to use less expensive feedstocks to produce a more sustainable and more economical fuel,” Burton said.
Central Carolina Community College (CCCC) will host both the Biodiesel Intensive workshop and the Sustainable Biodiesel Summit, giving CCCC the opportunity to showcase its interconnected programs. Currently they have the ability to grow oilseed crops through their Sustainable Agriculture program, crush the seeds into oil, use the oil for cooking as part of their new Natural Chef program, and convert the used cooking oil into fuel for their fleet through the Biofuels Program.
Bob Armantrout, of CCCC will be offering instruction as part of the Biodiesel Intensive Workshop, and facilitating a biodiesel community conversation at the Sustainable Biodiesel Summit.
“We are delighted to see this event come to Pittsboro,” said Armantrout. “We already think of ourselves as ‘the biodiesel capital of North Carolina,’ but this event will bring us national attention.”
The Abundance Foundation has served as the fiscal sponsor of the Sustainable Biodiesel Summit for the past few years, staging events in San Antonio, San Francisco, and Grapevine, Texas. “It’s exciting to see it SBS come to our hometown,” said Tami Schwerin, Executive Director of Abundance. “Promoting renewable energy is part of our mission,” she added.
The Biodiesel Intensive workshop is expected to include 20-30 participants, many of whom are already making biodiesel, or exploring an entry into the industry. The Sustainable Biodiesel Summit is expected to see over a hundred participants, from fleet managers to backyard brewers to those with farm-scale biodiesel production.
March 5th is the evening of Pittsboro’s 4th Annual Mardi Gras Carnival, and it is anticipated that many biodiesel enthusiasts and activists will wrap up their conference with an evening at the Mardi Gras celebration.
Contact: Lyle Estill, 919-321-8260 firstname.lastname@example.org